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Trendy & Romantic?!

Hi everyone! This is my first post and I'm hopeful you can help. I'm coming to NYC over Memorial Day weekend and I'm looking for a nice restaurant for my date and me. Here's what I'm looking for:

I'm a basic foodie. I do like a sit-down meal at dinnertime, but I don't need all the fanciness. I love great food and I love it even more when I get a great deal on it!! I am more the all-american food type...although I love old-world style Italian as well (you know...Lots of Red Sauce on the Chicken Parm type...). I have been to many French Restaurants and I'm not the biggest fan. Thing is, it seems most of the ROMANTIC, QUIET, NICE places I'm finding are all French cuisine. He IS a big fan of French...so maybe a mix between easy American styled food and some French flair thrown in?! ;)

So, I'm looking for TRADITIONAL AMERICAN/ITALIAN food, TRENDY LOOKING ENVIRONMENT, ROMANTIC, somewhat QUIET (I like to hear my date speak without yelling), NOT A CHAIN RESTAURANT, and a GREAT BAR for varied drinks (wine, mixed, liquors, etc.)

I'm hoping I can find great food without having to hit some Irish Pub. Love the food, not the environment! :) Looking only in Manhattan...not the boroughs. A gay-friendly restaurant would be great as well...although not necessary. Nice to be amongst similar people is all. :)

Thank you everyone!

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  1. Typically in NYC, trendy-looking with a great bar don't really go with American/Italian, but here are some recs that may come close.

    Check these out via the following site: www.menupages.com
    Apizz
    Gonzo
    Malatesta Trattoria
    Tre Dici
    Lavagna (on the earlier side of the evening
    )Nizza (have only been for brunch, though I'm hearing good things about dinner)

    www.thelunchbelle.com

    9 Replies
    1. re: LeahBaila

      Great list to which I'll add Peasant, Bacaro, Lulu, and Little Owl.

      1. re: D...DF

        Peasant seems like the best bet to me - definitely trendy and romantic, in a slightly rustic kind of way. Really good food, too.

        For something more modern, A Voce has really good food, but I'm not sure anyone would call it romantic. It can get a little loud too.

        There are better Italian restaurants in the city than those mentioned in this thread, but as LeahB said, they don't fit your requirements.

        1. re: D...DF

          I agree with all of the above, probably minus Nizza.

          Peasant immediately came to mind when I read your post, but it's definitely not "red sauce Italian." It does fit the fill for somewhat trendy, quiet, and great bar, though, and it has some basic dishes (i.e. lamb, steak, etc.) along with more interesting ones.

          The only reason I would take Nizza out is that I wouldn't say it's particularly romantic and although the food is very good, it's not quite a "destination" restaurant for dinner.

          I would add Market Table, which is similar to Little Owl but maybe easier to get into.

          Also add Scarpetta which fits most of the criteria provided. Their spaghetti with tomato sauce is the best (although not heavy red sauce, its worth a try!!) and the bar is usually a fun place to have a drink.

          1. re: stephaniec25

            Yeah, that's the thing. The "trendy" Italian places tend to focus on "trendy" (i.e. modern, updated) Italian food, not red sauce dishes. Maybe Supper? It has a lot of good basic red sauce dishes, and is definitely trendy. It also has "romantic potential" if you sit in the back, but the overall vibe is certainly not romantic.

            1. re: stephaniec25

              Second Market Table and the 86ing of Nizza (not a destination, a bit too sterile to be romantic). As for Scarpetta, OP wanted quiet.

              TrendyMAboy, all of the restaurants thus far mentioned are gay-friendly. It's Manhattan!

              1. re: D...DF

                I agree re: the places mentioned so far in this thread, but I could see *some* of the more old-school establishments being uh... "less friendly." Hate to say it, but I think it's true.

                I really feel like Peasant is the best bet. While it isn't strictly a red sauce place, they do serve great red sauce dishes. The pizzas that they serve in the wine bar downstairs are great, too!

                1. re: D...DF

                  I figured most places would be gay-friendly...but just wanted to check. ;)

                  1. re: TrendyMAboy

                    There's gay friendly and there's gay friendly, because you did mention you would appreciate being around similar people which I'm not sure what you mean (similar gay or similar tolerant). I tend to agree with the "it's Manhattan, it's not a problem" school of thought, but I also realize I don't really know what I'm talking about as I can't comment how "accepted" you feel in this or that circumstance and you might be looking for something extra to set a mood or make it seem like an occasion; I sometimes notice when a room has an unusually high percentage of gay couples, so right there I see room for different perceptions even if it is unintentional. Trying to be helpful here. Depending on your circumstances where you live, or the atmosphere you seek, you might get a kick out of an "extra gay" place?

                    So my point is that people here with "local knowledge" could be perhaps more helpful with more specific positive info (rather than simply suggesting that certain populations might be intolerant, a view I can agree with while also recognizing it is bigoted in reverse). As examples, I feel like I've been to Grand Sichuan on 7th Ave on gay guy night, and lesbian night at August restaurant. But neither fits the description so we don't have to consider them further.

                    Oh speaking of American avec French flair, I've never been and can't comment on the atmosphere or food, but that Steak Frites place on 7th Ave might fit the bill foodwise, and certainly the neighborhood demographics would support your preferences.

              2. re: D...DF

                We went to the Little Owl on our last trip and that was great! I had forgotten the name of the restaurant... :)

            2. For me there is a little contradiction here, Quiet and Trendy dont usually go together.
              I love the Apizz recommendation because the food is excellent Italian and the place is romantic and the neighborhood is great for drinks before or after. that would be my suggestion.

              1. Thank you all for the recommendations. I'm going to check these places out right now. What a great site this is!!

                1. Freemans has a good bar, American-ish food, trendy decor (if you call hunting lodge trendy, I guess?).... I can't remember how loud it was when I've gone.

                  1. check out perilla too (yes I am a broken record on here....)

                    1. Thank you everyone!! I chose Peasant for an early dinner on Sunday...and then we're hitting The Red Cat later that night. I'm thinking it's a good mix. I REALLY appreciate all the suggestions. I'm looking forward to Peasant, especially with all the great reviews on it.
                      Happy Memorial Day!

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: TrendyMAboy

                        peasant and red cat are in totally different areas and on the other sides of town...not sure if you want to do that but be my guest.

                        i think scarpetta followed by drinks at red cat or cookshop may be interesting...or raines law room on 17th street for a nice bar with cocktails.

                        enjoy.